Who can resist a free story?
I discovered Traci’s kind offer on Twitter and read her short story – To Save a Girl. I’m glad I did. To Save a Girl is well written with great dialogue. A visitor to Earth saves a young lady’s life, against all rules regarding such encounters. A happy ending. (I love happy endings.)
Traci is an award winning author. She has graciously agreed to a 4Q Interview and to share a chapter of her novel – The Anuan Legacy.
Traci Ison Schafer lives in Ada, Oklahoma, and is a Price Analyst for the United States Air Force. She’s a native of Ohio and started her career at the infamous Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which she used as the backdrop for her first book, the science fiction novel The Anuan Legacy.
Traci is current Past President of the Oklahoma City Writers (OKCW) and is an officer on the Executive Board of the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation (OWFI) were she serves as Second Vice President. She also remains active in the writing community in the Dayton, Ohio, area where she’s a founding member of the critique group The Plot Sisters (est. 2012) and has served as a panelist at the Antioch Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton.
Traci has a master’s degree in business, a bachelor’s degree in science education, and has earned teaching certifications in several science fields including physics, astronomy, and earth science. She’s curious about all things beyond this physical world such as aliens, reincarnation, and psychic abilities, making them among her favorite writing topics.
Traci’s writing has earned several awards, including winner of the National Indie Excellence Award in Science Fiction and finalist for the Independent Author Network Science Fiction Book of the Year. When not busy writing, Traci enjoys spending time with her family.
4Q: Your bio tells us of your curiosity with aliens, reincarnation and psychic abilities and how these are your favorite writing subjects. Considering each one of these topics, do you believe in them?
TIS: Yes, I do! All of them. I think there are so many things beyond what we can see, hear, touch, smell, and taste. People tend to be skeptical of things they can’t verify with these five “hard” senses. The human eye can only detect a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (the visible light portion), but that doesn’t mean the rest doesn’t exist. It does. We’ve found other ways, beyond those five senses, to prove that. I think it’s that way with other things as well. A human body, and what scientific means we’ve developed so far, can only verify a small portion of what this universe is all about, but that doesn’t mean there’s not more. We just haven’t figured it all out yet. Aliens, for example. There are trillions and trillions of galaxies, each containing trillions and trillions of stars, many of which support planets. I just can’t believe that our planet is the one and only planet that sustains any kind of intelligent life. Scientist have discovered that other planets outside of our own solar system could sustain life, but I think even they are looking at things too narrowly, because they’re looking for planets that would be similar to our own. What if other life forms exist that don’t breathe the same kind of air we breathe or live within the same temperature ranges that we survive within. We need to open our imaginations to possibilities beyond what we already know. Our science-fiction of today could be the reality of tomorrow.
4Q: Tell us about The Anuan Legacy. What inspired this story.
TIS: I’ve always loved astronomy and was a big fan of Star Wars growing up, and later, of Star Trek. I also loved watching Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. So, I’ve always had my eyes to the stars. Combine that with my job location and it was a no-brainer. I’m originally from Ohio and started my career at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. I worked there for many years before relocating to Oklahoma. If you’re not familiar with Wright-Patt, it’s rumored to have received the Aliens from the Roswell, New Mexico, space ship crash back in 1947. So, mix the government, captive aliens, adventures in space, throw in a little romance along the way, and you’ve got The Anuan Legacy.
4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.
TIS: I’ll share one that’s in-line with the subject matter. I grew up back when it was safer for a child to be out and about without supervision (or at least people thought so). Well, my mom would give me a certain time to be home, but when it would start to get dark, I couldn’t resist stretching out on the top of the neighborhood playground’s monkey bars (that couldn’t have been comfortable, but I never noticed) to watch the stars. I’d tell Mom my watch was slow or had stopped. She must have thought I was terrible at winding my watch. Or maybe she had her eye on me after all, because I don’t recall ever getting in trouble. Maybe I just pushed that part out of my memory. Lol.
4Q: Every author, artist or musician has that special “place” where they feel most creative, be it a room of their own or an office, in complete silence or with music playing, etc. What’s yours like?
TIS: Pretty much anywhere that I can find a desk or table and relative quiet. It doesn’t have to be dead silence. White noise is okay. But I’m not one who can write on the couch in front of a tv. Probably the most unusual place I’ve ever written was in a closet. When I worked in black world programs, I couldn’t have my laptop with me. I had to store it in a locker outside the classified area. At lunch I’d retrieve my laptop and go to a locked walk-in closet, also outside the classified area, that had a counter where people could leave their phones or personal laptops. I’d punch in the code, push all the electronics aside, and set up on that counter to write. I startled quite a few people who popped in for their phones during lunch and found me sitting there.
4Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
TIS: Yes. I’d like to thank all my readers for their support. I love hearing from them on social media and meeting them at events. I look forward to meeting more in the future.
Also, for those who’ve asked about another book, I should have The Anuan Legacy, Book 2, out sometime later this year. If anybody would like updates, they can sign up for that on my website or follow me on social media. I’m most active on twitter and Facebook, but also have an Instagram account.
An Excerpt – The Anuan Legacy.
CHAPTER 1 – GAIGE
“Gaige, you’ll be entering Earth’s atmosphere in ten seconds,” Nav said over the open mission channel.
“Got it, Nav.” I scanned the cockpit readouts to verify that all of the diagnostics still checked out. They did.
I braced for the change in velocity.
“Prepare for entry in three, two, one . . .”
Just as I hit the thick atmosphere from the vacuum of space, cockpit warnings blared and diagnostic projections flashed by as the auto-systems tried to pinpoint the problem.
“Nav, something’s wrong with the shuttle!” I shouted.
“We know. We think an unexpectedly strong solar burst knocked out your Lexon system. We’re working it from here.”
The diagnostic projections continued to scroll through the air in front of me, still searching for the problem.
“There’s no time,” I said. “I’ll have to land it mentally.” Telekinesis was nothing new to an Anuan, but controlling something that large would be more than a challenge. It would be a miracle.
“Our readings show the electromagnetic interference on Earth’s atmosphere caused by the burst won’t settle down for another few Earth minutes. Be careful what you’re opening yourself up to, Gaige.”
“I don’t have a choice.” The shuttle was going down one way or another. I could take control or die. “Override!”
The warnings fell silent and the cockpit diagnostics faded. The remaining displays dimmed. The shuttle was all mine. I reached forward and touched the control panel. My hands trembled with surging adrenaline until I pressed them so firmly against the panel they couldn’t budge. I wouldn’t be able to land the craft and maintain a cloaking shield at the same time, but I’d have to worry about being detected later.
The shuttle vibrated under the stress of friction with Earth’s atmosphere. Opening my mind, I directed my mental willpower into the shuttle. Slow to entry speed! Still, the vibrations rocked the shuttle. If I didn’t get the shuttle’s speed down, it would break apart under the continued force of entry. I focused everything I could pull from within myself at the shuttle. It slowed—not quite to a normal entry speed—but close enough to ease some of the stress on the craft.
Trying to manage the shuttle was depleting me, not just mentally, but physically, too. The unstable electromagnetic energy in Earth’s atmosphere from the solar burst wasn’t helping. I couldn’t maintain control of the shuttle much longer. Dusk had already started to settle over the area, but the night vision filter of the windshield allowed me to easily see Earth’s barren winter trees—lots of them. My eyes scanned for a clearing among all the trees. In the far distance, toward the northwest, I found one. You can make that.
I leaned my body and my mind toward the clearing and willed the shuttle in that direction. The craft glided above the treetops.
Slow to hover. The shuttle paused and hung suspended in the air over the open stretch of land.
Landing mode and down. Drained, I struggled to keep control. My energy level wavered. The craft shuddered then crashed to the ground with a hard jolt that slammed me forward in my restraint.
I laid my head back against the seat, exhausted. Stretching each arm and leg, wiggling fingers and toes, I seemed to be in one piece. But every part of me ached—especially my brain. It felt like an icepick had been driven through my temples.
Dusk offered some visual cover, but I could have easily been detected on radars since I hadn’t been able to maintain a cloak during the landing. A stream of sweat ran down the side of my face. I didn’t have enough energy to wipe it away, let alone hide a shuttle.
“Gaige? Ship to Gaige.”
I heard the static-riddled communications coming from my crippled shuttle, barely, but couldn’t gather enough energy to answer.
“Ship to Gaige. Respond!”
“Yeah.” With some effort, I got the sigh of a word out.
“We’re evaluating your medical values now—,” Nav said.
“Gaige,” another voice interrupted. “This is Mission Commander. I’m sending Conner down with a rescue team as soon as the burst energy subsides. Shouldn’t be more than another five Earth minutes.”
His words sent a small surge of adrenaline through my body, giving me enough energy to protest. “Tas, no! I mean, Commander, permission to—”
“You can’t stay down there like that,” Tas said. “I’m sending a team to get you.”
“Please, Commander . . .” I couldn’t let my situation affect the mission. I drew in a deep breath, trying to hold on to the quickly fading adrenaline. “I request some time to recover the situation on my own.” I took another breath. “One of us in this area is enough, maybe too much already. Remember, we can’t overwhelm her.”
There was silence and then, finally, Tas answered. “Request granted. But I’ll have Conner and the rescue team on standby. If we don’t receive a positive report from you in fifteen Earth minutes, I’m sending them. Understood?”
I couldn’t respond. Our short exchange had taken what little energy I’d regained. I knew I had to fix the shuttle, get it cloaked, and move it somewhere away from the current site. But I could barely stay conscious.
“Gaige? This is Tas. Are you still with us?”
Yeah, I’m with you.
No energy left . . . to stay . . . awake . . .
To discover more about Traci and her stories, please follow these links.
Thank you Traci for being our special guest this week. Wishing you continued success with your future stories.
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